Cliff Lee says rumored affinity for Yankees is "a lie"

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Take one listen to the Colin Cowherd radio program — “The Herd,” I believe it’s called — and it’s not hard to conceive why people don’t take the guy seriously. 

Cowherd is loud and far from level-headed, and on Monday he made a few ridiculous comments regarding Rangers ace Cliff Lee.

Lee was shelled for eight earned runs on 10 hits against the light-hitting Orioles this weekend.  Instead of chalking it up as a rare bad outing — the type of which every great pitcher has experienced — Cowherd asserted that the left-handed Lee was not trying, and that he “mailed it in” against Baltimore because he “doesn’t care about Texas.”

Cowherd went on to say that sources have told him Lee “will not re-sign with Texas” because he wants to be a Yankee.

That drew a response from Lee on Monday night, via ESPNDallas.com:

“It’s a lie,” Lee said. “Write that. Are you writing? Write that it’s a
lie. I did not say that and nobody close to me would say that. Either
say who the source is or shut up because I am saying it is not true.”

We’re going to side with Lee on this one.  He’s been lights-out, for the most part, since the Rangers acquired him in July and a few bumps in the road don’t necessitate the creation of conspiracy theories. 

A better assumption, if assumptions are even needed, is that the left-hander is focused on reaching the playoffs with his current first-place club and not worried about his impending free agency.  At least not yet.

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.